My Trip to Microsoft: Day 1

I’m fortunate enough to be spending this week at Microsoft headquarters in Redmond testing out different feature configurations of the new SQL Server 2008 database server as well as configuration of the new Sync Framework for ADO.NET. 

This is my first trip to MS and hopefully not the last.  The “campus” here is beautiful and full of all sorts of nerd amenities.  Foosball, ping-pong, Starbucks-ish coffee, and break areas with scenic views are a stone’s throw from our lab room in the SQL building.  Having previously worked at the FedEx World Technology Center, I’m not unacustomed to the grandiose presentation of workspace, but the sheer scale of this facility is mindboggling.  Gates didn’t create an international company, he created a small city that is centered around the central goal of providing software to the world. 

I find myself in complete agreement with Douglas Coupland (author of Microserfs and JPOD) that corporate America’s development of the “campus,” rather than the typical concept of an office, is a devious means of keeping workers in a perpetual adolescance so that they see work as play, and therefore intertwine their lives more deeply with their work than otherwise.  I don’t think this is a good thing.  I believe that as an individual, my activities and decisions outside of work are what define me as a person, not so much my career despite the time and effort I put into it.  However, after being here for only one day, I can easily see how the campus mentality and office-with-a-playground mode of work are appealing, much more so even than at the luxurious FedEx campus back home in Memphis.

Its simply a pleasure being here surrounded by the finely-tuned minds that produced the majority of the software I use.  Today I’ve gotten to meet some of the people behind SQL Server, NUMA architecture, and Sync Services.  And this has only been the start!

I’ll try to keep posting this week on the activities that I am getting to participate in.  Hopefully there will even be pictures! 

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2 Responses to “My Trip to Microsoft: Day 1”

  1. Harvey Says:

    Not sure I agree with you about all of the reasons behind the “campus” phenomenon. I think you are right about the nod towards adolescence, but the campus mentality is more than that. Gates is trying to make employees feel that they are at the center of the creation of knowledge. He is, in effect, creating a cult like atmosphere. Very Jim Collins of him.

  2. liberatedsoftware Says:

    @Harvey, I would agree with the cult like atmosphere effect that should occur, but there is still going to be a measure of corporate synicism to keep the obsessives in line.


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